UK must fulfil Irma obligations’
David Burt is calling upon the British Government to “fulfil its obligations” to the people of Britain’s Caribbean territories following the “unprecedented devastation” caused by Hurricane Irma.
In a statement released yesterday afternoon, the Premier, acting in his capacity as president of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association, said that there is “an urgent need for health and social welfare support which must be met now”.
The statement follows heavy criticism over Britain’s response to the storm that has decimated parts of the region, levelling buildings, cutting off communications, and leaving multiple people dead.
On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May upped the country’s aid package for the region to £32 million. Defence minister Michael Fallon said that hundreds of troops, engineers and other additional resources would also be provided.
Mr Burt said that while the organisation welcomed the commitment from the British Government in providing some immediate resources, it questioned “the adequacy of its response” in other areas, including a regional reconstruction fund, and the two-week wait for the arrival of HMS Ocean.
“We note that the House of Commons Foreign Affairs and International Development Select Committees have raised these issues in terms as well,” he said. In addition to committing immediate resources, Mr Burt also called on the British Government to “examine and develop the long-term economic self-sustainability of the Overseas Territories”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are fully focused on all affected by the current severe storm patterns across the Caribbean,” Mr Burt said. “The people of Britain’s Caribbean territories are courageous and resilient, but they face unprecedented devastation. Now, more than ever, we need Britain to fulfil its obligations by providing comprehensive and lasting support to ensure a sustainable future.”